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So many good stories. What about the bad ones?

02-01-2009, 06:55 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Santo Domingo, República Dominicana
Posts: 24
So many good stories. What about the bad ones?

We have heard about Trism, iShoot and iFart.

It is great to be a success in the App Store and sell a lot of copies and get a lot of money from it. The reality is that they are uncommon cases and not everybody that makes a game is getting his money back.

Can you share the info about those Apps and Devs who couldn't make it the right way? Those who made a good App but it got buried. What time did your App sell well? How much copies are you selling months away of the release day? What is the reality of those games that are not in the top 100?

We can't think this is business in heaven, we have to know the reality about the majority of games in the App Store who are not in the top 100 !!!

Thanks.
02-01-2009, 07:26 PM
#2
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Cali-forn-i-a
Posts: 2,302
im not the developer, but im gonna say that Smiles is a game with a bad story, terrible actually. It is so sad (and bad for the market) to see such an amazing game never go anywhere near the top ten, when in my opinion it is the best puzzle game out there.

Thanks for making a great game PoV!

Hopefully with this IGF stuff it can rocket up the charts and make you some dough!

dirty deeds and their dunderchee

02-01-2009, 07:44 PM
#3
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,393
SPiN is also in this category. It's an amazing game and review sites have praised it, it's even gone on sale multiple times to attract sales (it's currently $1.99 compared to it's $4.99 price tag). It deserves so much more credit and purchases than it currently has, and I feel bad for Frand who made such a great game and had some great updates, only to see it not sell. I can only hope Zen Bound sells better...

"Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"- The master himself, Dr. Seuss
02-01-2009, 07:52 PM
#4
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Cali-forn-i-a
Posts: 2,302
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennisking1o1 View Post
SPiN is also in this category. It's an amazing game and review sites have praised it, it's even gone on sale multiple times to attract sales (it's currently $1.99 compared to it's $4.99 price tag). It deserves so much more credit and purchases than it currently has, and I feel bad for Frand who made such a great game and had some great updates, only to see it not sell. I can only hope Zen Bound sells better...
yeah me too. That game looks great.

dirty deeds and their dunderchee
02-01-2009, 07:58 PM
#5
I've mentioned this before in some other threads.
SPiN has a 4.43 global written reviews average, mostly great web reviews (IGN Editors' Choice Award, 'Must Have' from Slide to Play...) and Best Puzzle Game of 2008 as noted by IGN Wireless.

The sales have barely covered ~25% of its total development costs.

The reasons have of been discussed as well, whether it's the name, the unfamiliar concept, piracy, the timing... all are factors of course. But it is an unfortunate example of (in our opinion) a high quality game not raising widespread interest despite positive web presence.

Lite version didn't have much of an effect on sales.

The one lesson to learn that I would like to share with all the indies is this:
time your web visibility as close to your game release as possible.

Website visibility creates one-day spikes in your sales, and if those spikes are spread too wide apart, your game is less likely to climb the App charts. Time them close together, and their cumulative effect may bring your app to a top position which then starts feeding itself with a positive feedback loop.

With SPiN the pricing had a linear effect on the number of sales. Sales quadrupled when price was dropped to $0.99, but only for a few days, followed by a rapid falloff. Now, three months from release, daily sales are few.

This brings again the problem... since it seems download numbers are directly influenced by the price of the application, it would suggest that launching any app at a price other than $0.99 would seriously risk its probability of success. Since position in the Top Apps charts is only determined by the number of downloads, the best chance to get up to Top 25, where the big paycheck is, is to price low. Naturally this would seriously hurt the perceived value of the application, and raising the price to, say, $5.99 after an 'introductory sale' will most likely kick your app out of the top charts as fast as it got there.

Of course this only applies to games that don't have a brand attached to them. Big publishers rely on the value of their brands to price the games at $9.99 and people are willing to buy.

Last edited by Frand; 02-01-2009 at 08:09 PM. Reason: Added the bit about pricing and sales.
02-01-2009, 08:19 PM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frand View Post
I've mentioned this before in some other threads.
SPiN has a 4.43 global written reviews average, mostly great web reviews (IGN Editors' Choice Award, 'Must Have' from Slide to Play...) and Best Puzzle Game of 2008 as noted by IGN Wireless.

The sales have barely covered ~25% of its total development costs.

The reasons have of been discussed as well, whether it's the name, the unfamiliar concept, piracy, the timing... all are factors of course. But it is an unfortunate example of (in our opinion) a high quality game not raising widespread interest despite positive web presence.

Lite version didn't have much of an effect on sales.

The one lesson to learn that I would like to share with all the indies is this:
time your web visibility as close to your game release as possible.

Website visibility creates one-day spikes in your sales, and if those spikes are spread too wide apart, your game is less likely to climb the App charts. Time them close together, and their cumulative effect may bring your app to a top position which then starts feeding itself with a positive feedback loop.

With SPiN the pricing had a linear effect on the number of sales. Sales quadrupled when price was dropped to $0.99, but only for a few days, followed by a rapid falloff. Now, three months from release, daily sales are few.

This brings again the problem... since it seems download numbers are directly influenced by the price of the application, it would suggest that launching any app at a price other than $0.99 would seriously risk its probability of success. Since position in the Top Apps charts is only determined by the number of downloads, the best chance to get up to Top 25, where the big paycheck is, is to price low. Naturally this would seriously hurt the perceived value of the application, and raising the price to, say, $5.99 after an 'introductory sale' will most likely kick your app out of the top charts as fast as it got there.

Of course this only applies to games that don't have a brand attached to them. Big publishers rely on the value of their brands to price the games at $9.99 and people are willing to buy.
That sucks. Hopefully Zen Bound will be able to recover you from SPiN (which imho is a really great game)

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02-01-2009, 08:42 PM
#7
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 410
Did Apple ever feature SPiN on any of their 'special' lists? (Whats Hot, New, Staff Favs)

I checked it out on the App Store. I like the graphics but I'm not a puzzle guy. I wonder if your problem is due to too many puzzle games. You seem to have everything else going for you though (awards, reviews, graphics, price).

Oh well, when games like iCopter are still in the top 25 for months and months, it might be that games like SPiN aren't what the market is looking for.
02-01-2009, 08:46 PM
#8
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 410
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelmejiaganan View Post

Can you share the info about those Apps and Devs who couldn't make it the right way? Those who made a good App but it got buried. What time did your App sell well? How much copies are you selling months away of the release day? What is the reality of those games that are not in the top 100?
7 Cities came out a day after SimCity, a day before Puzzle Quest, and 2 days before Rolando. That burned us good!!! But a month later, we got featured by Apple on Whats Hot and got some good numbers then. So far we are happy with it. And it makes us want to do updates and make other games.

But I really want Apple to change the App Store layout and help those devs who put in the extra effort.
02-01-2009, 08:52 PM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight View Post
Did Apple ever feature SPiN on any of their 'special' lists? (Whats Hot, New, Staff Favs)

I checked it out on the App Store. I like the graphics but I'm not a puzzle guy. I wonder if your problem is due to too many puzzle games. You seem to have everything else going for you though (awards, reviews, graphics, price).

Oh well, when games like iCopter are still in the top 25 for months and months, it might be that games like SPiN aren't what the market is looking for.
Yes, Apple guys are great, and we got all the visibility from them that we could hope for. SPiN was featured as a top banner game in most regions, then listed in "What's New" and I believe it may still be present in some regions' "What's Hot" or "What We're Playing" sections.

I don't know if SPiN is a puzzle game, to be honest. For me it's an arcade game. The line is blurred of course, but for me Tetris isn't a puzzle game either... when you play it at level 10 or so, the pace of the game is so fast and the gameplay so reaction-driven that calling it a puzzle game does give the wrong image. Guitar Hero is an arcade game and not a puzzle, right?

SPiN is similar in that at the higher difficulties it challenges anyone to the peak of their reaction speeds. I don't think puzzle games do that, unless there's a genre for "Arcade Puzzle".
02-01-2009, 08:55 PM
#10
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 410
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frand View Post
Yes, Apple guys are great, and we got all the visibility from them that we could hope for. SPiN was featured as a top banner game in most regions, then listed in "What's New" and I believe it may still be present in some regions' "What's Hot" or "What We're Playing" sections.

I don't know if SPiN is a puzzle game, to be honest. For me it's an arcade game. The line is blurred of course, but for me Tetris isn't a puzzle game either... when you play it at level 10 or so, the pace of the game is so fast and the gameplay so reaction-driven that calling it a puzzle game does give the wrong image. Guitar Hero is an arcade game and not a puzzle, right?

SPiN is similar in that at the higher difficulties it challenges anyone to the peak of their reaction speeds. I don't think puzzle games do that, unless there's a genre for "Arcade Puzzle".
I apologize. I saw 'Best Puzzle Game of 2008' as the first review in the product description on the App Store page and I concluded its a puzzle game.

That is interesting that even though you got the best feature (top banner? wow), that you still only made 25% of your investment? I find it hard to believe given our own experience, but maybe I am just not seeing the bigger picture since I haven't played your game.